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This week 33 international students from 25 different countries were welcomed to Northern Ireland at a dinner and awards ceremony hosted at Belfast Castle.
The reception, sponsored by the Department for Employment and Learning, was held in acknowledgement of the students taking part in the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) programme. The students are currently on placement across Northern Ireland.
Welcoming the opportunities IAESTE brings to local and international students, local institutions and employers, Derek Baker, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) said: “DEL remains committed to providing Northern Ireland students with the opportunity to gain international experience, and Northern Ireland employers with both the opportunity to raise their international profile, allowing them access to some of the brightest and best prospective employees from across the globe. Programmes such as IAESTE allow us to both demonstrate to the world the skills and abilities we have to offer, and learn from the rest of the world to build upon the talents we already have.”
Derek continued: “We now live in a global economy where it is important for Northern Ireland to build on our reputation of being a confident, capable and outward looking region that is open to new ideas and willing to learn from and apply international best practice.
“I wish the students every success during their placement period in Northern Ireland. I also wish to thank local employers and our higher education institutions in providing placements for the international trainees. Without their willingness and support for IAESTE none of this would be possible.”
CDE were represented at the event by Brian McCullough, Head of Talent & Organisational Development who said "We have been working with the IAESTE programme for a number of years now and it presents us with a great opportunity to bring in new employees from countries that we have identified as having strategic importance for us as we continue to grow our expand our business worldwide." Brian was joined at the Belfast Casstle event by the latest intake of IAESTE students who will be spending the next 12 months at CDE headquarters in Cookstown, Alan Miler and Aymen Bennour.
IAESTE is an employer-led programme administered by the British Council which provides science, engineering and applied arts undergraduates with training experience abroad relevant to their studies over the summer period. The programme also provides Northern Ireland employers with well qualified and motivated foreign trainees bringing valuable international experience and contacts to local employers from countries such as Brazil, UAE and Kenya.
This year six new local employers came on board, Michelin, Devenish Nutrition, Crane Energy Flow Solutions, Precision Group and URS in the Belfast area as well as Perfecseal in Derry~Londonderry. This year’s celebration also hosted an awards ceremony to mark the growth of IAESTE with new business being created and to acknowledge the longstanding employers commitment to the programme.
Thirty five students from Northern Ireland are also currently on IAESTE placements in 18 countries worldwide including: Brazil, China, USA and Tunisia to name a few. These students will return to Northern Ireland equipped with valuable skills gained in other countries enabling them to compete more effectively in their future careers.
David Alderdice, British Council Director in Northern Ireland speaking at the reception, said: “International business connections and partnerships are vital for economic success and growth. Exchange programmes like IAESTE facilitate these connections by bringing in young future business leaders from around the world for placements with local employers and send out our future business leaders into the international marketplace to gain international experience and build partnerships for success.”
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